People’s Architecture

HSIEH Ying-Chun and Atelier-3 謝英俊建築師與第三建築工作室

"People’s Architecture” exhibition will present a temporary pavilion, built by citizens and international refugees at the city centre of Helsinki in 2017. The installation is part of the Helsinki Design Week HOP City Installations.

Architect HSIEH Ying-Chun has conducted many post-disaster reconstructions in Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia in the past 16 years. Facing the different and difficult social, geographic and climatic condition of each project, Hsieh has initiated three key principles for commencing his work:

1) Collaborative construction – survivors should rebuild their own houses with limited intervention of professionalists;

2) Adoptable and affordable technology
– applying easy assembly reinforced light-gauge steel system with nuts and bolts; and

3) Open system
– steel system easily commenced with different kinds of membranes and functions of each house.

Helsinki Design Week 2017


Refugees have different reasons for leaving their homeland. In seeking generosity and acceptance from the people in foreign land, their sense of uncertainty and isolation is inevitable and understandable. In the diverse social, cultural, religious environment of the European society, newly-arrived refugees could only patiently await assistance. The lack of social engagement would often trigger a sense of helplessness and loss of dignity. If left unaddressed, this may potentially lead to social burden. In Helsinki Design Week 2017, we deliver our proposal to build a transitional shelter together with refugees, citizens and international students. The built shelter can provide a decent living space for participating refugees to sooth any sense of anxiety from having to leave their homeland. Furthermore, through their own efforts, the participatory and collaborative construction process can comfort the refugee’s sense of uncertainty and rebuild their sense of value and dignity, while nurturing their ability and creativity for the future reconstruction of their homeland.
Our proposed transitional shelter is built by an easy-to-assemble wooden frame. By simplifying the process of construction and applying easily acquired and recyclable materials, this process significantly reduces the technical requirements, thereby allowing people to build their own house with simple tools. The walls of the transitional shelter are filled with soil and straw bales for insulation, preserving heat and controlling moisture. The shelter contains a urine-diverting dry toilet, and could potentially be equipped with solar electric power system. These components make each shelter self-sufficient without having to rely on municipal services. In the event of refugees returning to their homeland, all building materials could be reused for other constructions, including social housing. This would minimize the overall environmental impact of building construction.
Our exhibition has three components: 1) the housing unit; 2) a gallery showing the previous work of Architect HSIEH and his team; and 3) a media platform showing the exchange of ideas between shelter builders and visitors. The two-floor shelter contains on its ground floor an open space for a small grocery shop, a studio or a communal space; and on the upper floor a private dwelling space. During the exhibition, visitors can view the whole structural system and construction process, and share their ideas and opinions.
The avarice and insatiable consumerism in today’s housing industry has made everyone a consumer who ought to pay a fortune simply for a place to live. Refugees may not have the financial ability to pay which may preclude them as ‘consumers’ of the housing market. By taking this collaborative, simplified and low-cost construction approach, refugees can apply their skillset and contribute their efforts not only for their own housing needs, but also for resolving any potential tensions and conflicts with the host communities.

September 7 - 17, 2017

Building starts 4th September
Indoor Exhibition Open: 14th-16th September
Everyday 9:00-19:00
Free Admission

✮ Exhibition Opening:
Thursday, September 7, 2017.

09:00-17:00 Building on site continues.
- 1st, 2nd frame structures will be lifted estimate at 13:30pm
- Last frame structure erected at 5:30pm + Architect Hsieh introduces the project

✮ Interior co-creation:
September 12~13, 2017
-lanterns and lights, wooden mailbox, dry toilet prototype, decoration for the walls

✮ Grand Opening Ceremony & Thanks Giving:
14.09.2017 6-8pm

- Opening talk by Architect Hsieh
- Open forum

Helsinki City Center, Finland

Kolmensepänaukio/Three Smiths Statue,
Aleksanterinkatu 23, Helsinki, Finland
(Next to Stockmaan Department Store)

Side Events


#1. Co-creation with communities
9th, September, 2017

How to get people involved and make things together? How to adapt local material and preserve culture in communities? This evening forum, we will have 3 presenters share their experience of co-creating with local communities and empowering social collaborations.

• Building own houses with local communities
Talk by Architect Hsieh, Ying-Chun

• Community development & Eco-soap making movement with communities in Taiwan and abroad
Talk by Mrs. Chiang, Feng-Ying (Environment Educator, Taichung Maple Culture Association&Eco-school)

• Toilets for slums with slum dwellers
Talk by Zita Floret, Architect

#2. Open Forum
10th, September, 2017

• Everyone is welcomed to share your thoughts. (5min-10min depending on the program)
* Send us your topic asap to secure a seat for your talk.
* We will prepare projector and microphone.

#3. Environmental Justice, Indigenous People & Architecture with Local Material
11th, September, 2017

How do architecture relate to people? How do Indigenous Peoples in Finland, Taiwan and around the world continue to embrace their culture in the changing environment (e.g. in the post-disaster context)? Architecture relates to different local materials and groups of people in many different ways. Architect Hsieh Ying-Chun has 20 years of experience building houses with Taiwan Indigenous peoples in post-disaster (e.g. typhoon, flooding, earthquake) context.

Building on the experience from Taiwan, this informal discussion would like to draw attention to the Indigenous peoples in Finland and from other parts of the world to see how Indigenous Peoples continue to embrace their culture in the changing environment.

✮ Programme:

18:00- 18:10 Opening
18:10 - 18:30 Pirjo Virtanen (Professor from Indigenous Studies from the University of Helsinki)
18:30 - 18:50 Petra Laiti (Chair from the City Sami Association)
18:50 - 19:20 Architect Hsieh Ying-Chun*
19:20 - 19:40 Petri Heino (Ministry of Environment)
19:40 - 19:55 Q&A
19:55 - 20:00 Closing remarks

The discussion is facilitated by Grace I-An Gao, PhD candidate at the University of Helsinki.

*Hsieh's speech will be interpreted by Chiu

#4. Open forum: Home and refugees
12th, September, 2017

This forum we invite Sanna Valtonen and Architect Hsieh to talk about giving and building a home to refugees.

Sanna Valtonen is Helsinki based researcher, teacher and a human right activist whom has been the power behind Home accommodation for Refugees and Support for an asylum seekers. Sanna is building bridges between cultures, refugees, families and organizations with full focus on human integrity.

#5. Sharing About Architecture for People
13th, September, 2017

Did you miss out on building the house? Don't worry, the participants and architects are going to share their experience from the past week. After the talk, we have a couple of short films about the project conducted by architect Hsieh in the past. Welcome to our Wednesday forum!

✮ Programme:

18.00-19.00 Building experience share from architects and participants

19.00-20.00 short films time - documentary films by Architect HSIEH's previous projects

Architecture for People:
Building Homes For Victims in Disaster Zones in Asia

✮ Date:
September 13, 2017

✮ Time:

✮ Venue:
Metsätalo, sali 6 (Unioninkatu 40),
University of Helsinki

✮ Programme:

Speaker: Hsieh Ying-chun (in Mandarin)
Interpreter: Prof. Chen-Yu Chiu, Department of Architecture, Bilkent University, Turkey

Comments by Prof. Juhani Pallasmaa, Finnish architect and former professor of architecture and dean at the Helsinki University of Technology.

11:25-11:45 Q & A

** This event is organized by Chinese Studies at the University of Helsinki.

Interior co-creation  

Everyone is welcomed to bring something from home to decorate the interior of the installation.
✮ Date: September 12-13th, 2017

Everyday Updates

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Exhibition Open

Interviews / Press


2017.09.08 HS Metro

2017.09.13 Helsinki Sanomat

2017.09.14 Helsinki Sanomat


-端傳媒 Initium Media



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DongXiNanPei Radio 東西南北廣播節目


Interview with Architect HSIEH Ying-Chun

Interview with Dr. CHIU Chen-Yu

東西南北廣播節目, 今年 (2017) 九月十二日採訪到來自台灣參加赫爾辛基設計周的建築師 謝英俊,從建築設計,到人性關懷,謝建築師在訪談中流露他 “將鐵鎚交給需要房子的人” 背後所代表的含義和激發這個想法的緣起。訪談現場也訪問到執行這個計劃的關鍵人物 裘振宇博士,談談他在執行計劃過程的心情。

採訪現場:芬蘭首都鬧區 三鐵匠旁的展覽工地現場
這個訪談將在十一月第二季的 東西奮鬥系列,正式在廣播電台頻道播出。

*東西南北是李憶琳製作主持的公益性華人社群廣播節目,每個星期三天連續在赫爾辛基社區電台 100,3 兆赫,和芬蘭西南部的大城 Turku 91,5 兆赫地方電台,芬蘭中部的大城 Tampere 98,4 兆赫地方電台,Tampere 大學即時網路電台和線上網路電台播出,為在芬蘭和在世界各個角落的東西南北聽眾們服務。節目中我們會邀請單元的貴賓來跟我們聊聊在北歐生活工作的看見。

Alliance for Architectural Modernity, Taiwan
Helsinki Design Week

Aalto University, Finland
Aavaranta Reception Centre
Bilkent University, Turkey
Finnish Red Cross
Group X (Aalto University, Department of Architecture), Finland
Department of Architecture, Shih Chien University, Taiwan
Taiwanese in Finland

Pauian Archiland
China Airlines

Special Consultant
Juhani Pallasmaa

Master Architect
Ying-Chun Hsieh

Chen-Yu Chiu

Project Producer
Hongda Lin
Ying-Ju Lin

Safety Consultant
Pasi Riikonen

Shao-yi Chiang
Chia Hua Wu

Building Supervisor
Chien-Hua Huang
Chi-Yi Liao

Building Assistant
Cheng-Yen Tsai
Chien-Tsun Huang

Alexander Popkov
Pinja Nikki

Special Thanks
Arla Kaukua
Bauhaus Vantaa-Drive In
Feng-Ying Chiang
Hanna Aaltonen
Harri Simolin
Henri Granqvist
Johanna Raekallio
Juha Alasalmi
Kari Korkman
Kiu Siang Tay-Teo
Kristina Kajaani
Lei Huang
Martha Jessen
Martina Wuoristo-Huhta
Martta Pietarinen
Nina Kantoniemi
Outi Ahola
Petri Heino
Pär Silén
Sari Markkanen
Tiina Lukkarila

✮ Volunteer
Abbas Abed Abbas Al-Rajhi
Adel saeed Hamiid Al-salman
Ali mohammed Al-halbosi
Amjad Qassim Ibraheem
Ayman jaafar Sadeq Al-shammari
Chau Nguyen
Chia-Fang Wu
Claire Tsou
Dheyaa Hameed Al-musawi Abdulzahra
Enrica Perotti
Eva Wei
Ezzuldin Layth Fuad Al-Nuami
Fang-Yi Lee

Grace I-An Gao Wasiq Silan
Greta Stefanova
Haider Saeid Al-mashhadani
Hanna Saarni
Hinny Wu
Hui-Min Liu
Huei-Wen Jang
Klaleel Ali Thamer Al-Abbood
Li-Wen Tseng
Meng-Han Chau
Muataz Basil Jihad Al-qaysi
Nsaif Hamad Sayer
Quteiba Khale Sadeeq
Riyadh Manea Jassas Almaadana

Samer Falah Mahdi
Salam qassim Abdrahman
Su-Chi Ju
Ting-Jhen Yang
Tin-Yu Lai
Vickie Weng
Yen-Tsen Liu
Yi Ning Chuang
Yu Chao Chien
Yu-Zhen Wang
Younus Abd Al-Ghalib Ahmed Al-Taie
Zita Floret